Charlotte's Web ThingLink

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Explain Anything with Explain Everything, by guest blogger, Julie Nguyen-Ebadi

When I use Explain Everything, an interactive whiteboard app, Lauryn Hill’s “Everything is Everything” song pops up in my head. As a result, I was inspired to create this 22 second clip to help explain who Lauryn Hill is and simultaneously give you a quick preview on what the final product can look like when using the app.

In second grade, the students in my classroom see me using the app almost daily during math instruction. I walk around the classroom, iPad in hand, with Explain Everything airplaying from it. In the Eureka Math curriculum, I use it for concept development, problem set question review, and to solve application problems. You could record these lessons while you’re doing direct instruction and share it with parents to help students with the corresponding lesson’s homework, especially if you know the strategy was quite difficult for students to grasp during class. Who knows, you could be the next Duane! During classroom instruction, I also like to get students involved by teaching and reviewing what was just taught. Here is an example of one student who volunteered to solve and explain Part A of an application problem

Another student volunteered to solve Part B. During this math lesson, we are reviewing subtraction strategies as well as the Read, Draw, Write Process.

More importantly, Explain Everything has been a powerful tool for me because students are creating their own videos to show what they know. For students who struggle with writing, this tool gives them an alternative to explain their thinking and it offers another way for me to formatively and summatively assess students. If you do math centers, you could use Explain Everything as one of the centers. Questions could be created by the teacher or students, or you could simply use selected questions from the Eureka Math problem sets or applications.

So why use Explain Everything instead of a good old fashion whiteboard? Here are some of my reasons:
  • Student Engagement - Students feel empowered when they see their final product and what they are capable of
  • Self-Reflection - After watching their own video or their peer’s video, it gives them a chance to see what they could improve on
  • Collaborative Learning - Having students work in pairs or groups to solve and create an interactive digital whiteboard video gives them a chance to learn from each other
  • Teacher Movement - Having the iPad in my hand and walking around the classroom allows me to check in with students a lot easier and faster

Currently, I am using Explain Everything in math, but I could see my class using this tool in many subject areas. For instance, in science, students could use it to explain the life cycle of plants and animals.

If you are completely new to Explain Everything or have questions on how to use some of the features, it would be helpful to watch the introductory tutorials first. Many of the questions I had on how to use the app were answered by watching these videos. Here's one to get you started.

Since Explain Everything is a paid app, you'll need to request a license for your iPad. To do that, click here to fill out the Google Form request. It will be open through April 30th.

Feel free to email me if you have questions, or contact Mary Fran Lynch or Gena Pacada, our Tech ToSAs, for ideas on how to integrate Explain Everything into a lesson or for help implementing it with your students.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Sketch 50: Join the Movement!

Everyone Can Draw!

Even if you think that you can't draw, I want you to know that you can! Whenever I start a sketchnoting lesson in the classroom, I have students point their finger in the air and draw 4 things: a straight line, a squiggly line, a circle, and a dot. All images are made up of some form of those elements, so as long as can do that, YOU CAN DRAW!

What is Sketch 50?

Sketch 50 was started by Cate Tolnai, SCCOE EdTech Coach and sketchnoter, who has found tremendous value in practicing 1 drawing a day. Her idea was to form a community of learners to practice 1 sketch every day, leading up to Drawing Day on May 16, 2017. That makes 50 sketches! 

By sketching along with hundreds of other doodlers, Sketch 50 is meant to help you gain confidence in your artistic ability as you grow your visual library one day at a time. Once you know how to draw a light bulb, then you can use that same light bulb to represent words like idea, learning, clarity, knowledge, etc. Imagine how many words you could represent if you had 50 images in your visual library!

Join the Movement

Here's how it works:

Once you are following Sketch 50, starting on Monday, March 27, 2017, look for the word of the day. Get inspired by the community of learners posting to #sketch50 and sketch away! This can be a personal journey or one that you share with your students. However you decide to participate, don't forget to share to @sketch_50 on Twitter or Instagram

I hope you decide to join us. We're all in this journey together, so encourage one another and be proud of your creations! 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with Green Screen

In honor of St. Patrick's day, I would like to share a green screen idea that was originally created for a kindergarten class, but the concept could be used at any grade level with any wild topic imaginable! First, I will walk you through the directions and then I will share some examples from various classes.

If I Caught a Leprechaun... Green Screen Idea in 5 steps:

For any of you trying green screen with your students, here's a St. Patrick's Day idea to try.
  1. Find a background image and a leprechaun image with a transparent background OR grab images from this St. Patrick's Day Google Photo album
  2. Prepare the images in Do Ink Green Screen app as follows:
  3. Setup your your green screen and position the location of your iPad accordingly:
  4. When student is in the picture, move the leprechaun before taking the picture:
  5. Air drop the image to a student iPad so they can record their voice in Seesaw

Once the image is in Seesaw, students can record themselves completing the sentence "If I caught a leprechaun..."

A special thanks to Alicia Walpole at Guadalupe for collaborating with me on this idea! We were able to get through her whole class in less than an hour.

Here are some #USD Learns Green Screen Tweets:

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Could Your Students be Smarter Searchers?

It's about that time of year when students are researching various topics for projects that will be shared in digital portfolios and displayed at Open House. When it comes to searching for information, do you teach your students techniques for getting better results?

Check out this meme:
If you've ever found yourself on page 8 of a search, then you know there must be a better way. 

Do you still have students that type full questions into the search box? If so, that's a red flag letting you know that they probably have never been taught how to search. Kids love shortcuts, so let's start teaching them that there is an easier way! As teachers, it's our responsibility to make sure that they learn search strategies that will make them more effective and efficient. Open the Smarter Searching Slides to start learning simple, time-saving tips! You may make a copy of the slides and modify them according to your students' interests. For more ready-to-go Search lessons, visit the Google Search Education website. Happy Searching!

Here's a quick list of Search resources:

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

As our students become more familiar and comfortable with creating online content, there are a number of ways for them to add original images to their documents and presentations. While we might think using a Chromebook to take pictures is a bit clumsy, students are amazingly adaptable.

Taking Photos with Seesaw

One program students are using to document their work is Seesaw. It is easy to open the app and choose to add a Photo. Students can add audio, text labels, a caption, or draw over the photo. Photos are added to their files and easily shared with families.

Taking Photos in Google Docs and Slides

Sometimes, students might like to take photos of their work and add them to Google Docs or Presentations. Use Insert Image and "Take a snapshot". Take a snapshot will save the last three photos so students take a few and then choose the best one.

Once the photo is inserted into their Doc or slide, they will be able to use the image editing tools. Be sure the image is selected.

Using the Chromebook Camera and Editing Tools

Students can also use the Chromebook Camera to capture their work. To begin, students will need to click on the Launcher in the bottom lefthand corner of their Chromebook (it is the donut-looking icon). From there, choose All Apps and look for the Camera icon. If it is not there, students can search for Camera.
Once the camera is enabled, students will see the green light and their picture on the screen. There are a few features that can be explored:

Screen Shot 2017-02-28 at 10.49.49 PM.png
Filters can also be accessed by pressing on the trackpad. Photos can also be taken by pressing on the space bar.

Once the picture is taken, students can "Copy to Clipboard" open the Gallery or find find the File folder by clicking on Launcher in the bottom lefthand corner of your Chromebook. From there, choose All Apps and look for the Files icon. If it is not there, use search to find Files.

You might like to create a folder in Google Drive to store the photos and to make it easy to insert them into work. When a photo is taken, students will see a popup in the lower right-hand corner of their Chromebook. Click on it to locate the photo. Students can then drag that photo into the folder they created.

To edit a photo, choose a photo and double click to open it. Access the editing tools by choosing the pencil. The tools will appear at the bottom.

Encourage students to add their images to their work, display them on their Google Sites, or use them in apps to create new work, like adding their photos to Adobe Spark video. Students love the chance to be creative and show what they know. Give them a wider audience and watch their enthusiasm grow!